Surviving Winter Camping With Jocelyn, Biola Student

[dropcap style=’box’]A[/dropcap]third-year student at Biola University and resident of the San Jose Bay Area, Jocelyn Horsager’s winter outdoor experience was limited to shredding slopes and kicking back in a cabin. But despite her anxieties regarding the winter camping course, she found herself pleasantly surprised by each day’s experiences. And when we weren’t calling her back from leaning over the edge of a cliff to snap some killer GoPro fisheye panoramas, she was being followed by a Yosemite-native coyote with a peculiar taste for her foam sleeping pad. 

On January 15th, members of the Summit Adventure and Biola University communities embarked on a four-day winter camping excursion in the Yosemite wilderness. At the end of the trip, Writing/Social Media Intern Jennifer Boudreau sat down with course participant Jocelyn Horsager to ask about her personal experience. 

What were you most excited about for this trip? 

“I was most excited for experiencing something new. Like, I’ve always wanted to try backpacking. And now that I’ve done it, I have to say it’s very, very difficult. But I was looking forward to trying it… and getting to know the people I met up with from Biola.” 

Was there anything you were more nervous about, or just not looking forward to? 

“First off, I thought I was going to be starving the entire trip. And I was pleasantly surprised; I was full the whole time. And also [I was not looking forward to] the cold. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to be living in the snow, there’s never going to be a moment when I’m warm. And that freaked me out… ‘Cold and starving in the middle of the woods’–that’s what I thought it was going to be like. But those fears were definitely diminished. I was shocked.” 

Landscape scenery near Taft Point

So, you said you wanted to try something new. Was there a specific ‘adventure goal’ you had for this trip?

“To be able to survive out in the wild—in a tent, with my backpack–just [with] all the bare essentials, all the things that I need to survive. Because, usually, I have everything I need. [I wanted to] just try that out–living like a wild woman.”

What was the ‘high’ of the trip, and what was the ‘low’ of the trip?

“So the ‘high’ of the trip would be that I was able to have a really cool experience with the people I met and also see Yosemite, because I’ve only seen the valley [floor]… I hadn’t hiked anywhere, until this time… And it was so incredible just to sit there and look at God’s creation with other people who are believers. That was definitely a ‘high.’ And to be with people who are also wanting to try new things and learn together.

“A ‘low’ would be that [eleven-hour cross-country] hike. Not going to lie, it was such a mental [challenge]… The first part was totally fine, I was all for it, and then right when snow got in my boots, and when that walk just didn’t end, that was when I was about to break, internally. For sure.

“[However,] the girl that I had a tent with, Becca–[who I] normally wouldn’t have gotten to hang out with outside of this trip–is such a positive person. And when I was at that low point on that hike, she was the person who helped me talk it through and [was] very encouraging, and I really admire her for that. I had awesome conversations with her.”

What was something that stood out to you on the trail? 

“I just thought, ‘How in the world did our God create something this beautiful?’ I was just so blown away by everything. Like, everywhere I turned, there was beauty… the mountains, and the wildlife, unmarked territory.” 

What do you think is next for you? What’s your next ‘adventure goal?’ 

“Summer backpacking. With some water sport involved–like rafting or boating, something like that. But definitely during the summer.” 

Images used with permission by Jocelyn Horsager

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